The Improving Animal Disease Surveillance in Support of Trade in IGAD MS (STSD) organized a Planning Meeting (PM) for the implementing partners of the project from 9th to 11th February, 2015 at Fish Eagle Hotel, Naivasha, Kenya. The PM was attended by National Focal Points (NFPs) of the project and surveillance coordinators in the national veterinary diagnostic laboratories of the Member States (MS) of the IGAD region that include Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Sudan, South Sudan and Uganda. The meeting was also attended by the relevant staff members of AU-IBAR and IGAD Secretariat.
The overall objective of the PM was to develop a harmonized and consolidated work plan for 2015 activities implemented at national and regional levels, while the specific objectives were:
- To update on the progress of the project activities in 2014;
- To develop detail work plan for activities implemented at national & regional levels;
- To work out budget required for implementation of national activities;
- To prepare a harmonized implementation calendar of national & regional activities;
- To discuss on challenges of STSD implementation and chart way forward for addressing the challenges experienced in 2014;
- To discuss and agree on disbursement modalities of funds for national activities and
- To orient participants on the procurement rules & regulations of the African Union Commission (AUC).
The STSD Project
Implementation of the STSD project was launched in February 2014 for a total duration of 32 months with the objective of reducing the impact of animal diseases on trade of livestock and livestock products.
The project has the following two result areas:
- Improved Animal Identification and Traceability and Health Certification Systems;
- Improved Surveillance Systems and Disease Control Strategies.
The STSD project is financed by the European Union (EU) with a total budget of 6 million Euros and is implemented in eight countries of the IGAD region with the support of AU-IBAR and IGAD secretariat.
Message from the Director of AU-IBAR
The PM was officially opened by the Director of AU-IBAR, Professor Ahmed Elsawalhy. While recognizing the presence of all the participants, on behalf of AU-IBAR, the Director welcomed all to the meeting. He reminded the participants on the responsibility of AU-IBAR to ensure the control of animal diseases on the continent and expressed optimism that through improving animal disease surveillance and livestock identification and traceability systems, Member States will be able to better understand the epidemiology of priority diseases and build their capacities to respond to animal health emergencies.
The Director highlighted the project's achievements for the year 2014 and said that a total of 18 activities were planned for implementation in 2015. For timely and effective implementation of these activities, he said, required collective efforts involving proper planning, collaboration, coordination and above all commitment by all.
The Director recognized the great effort employed in the project by IGAD secretariat and MSs and expressed his sincere faith in seeing the momentum set in 2014 to continue all through 2015. Finally he also thanked the EU for its financial support, and emphasized the fact that success of the project implementation will be achieved as a result of collective responsibility of all players in the project.
Prior to the speech of AU-IBAR's Director, Dr. Ameha Sebsibe had made an opening remark on behalf of the IGAD Secretariat/ICPALD. Dr Sebsibe recognized the success shown by the project in the past year and reminded the participants that the year 2015 is going to be very critical to the project and urged MSs to plan well for efficient implementation.
The following were the main outputs of the PM:
- A report on the progress of the STSD project and challenges experienced at continental, regional and national levels discussed and agreed upon;
- Way forward charted to address the challenges experienced in 2014 discussed and agreed upon;
- A consolidated work plan for STSD activities at national and regional levels developed and agreed upon;
- Budget required for implementation of regional and national activities prepared and discussed;
- Modalities for disbursement of funds for national activities discussed and agreed on.
- AUC procurement rules and regulations understood and related challenges that occurred in 2014 discussed and way forward proposed.
Recommendations and Way Forward
Considering the progress and challenges experienced in 2014 as well as the work plan developed for 2015, the participants made the following recommendations:
- To fast track the procurement and delivery of sample collection materials and diagnostic kits to MS as well as the car for Uganda;
- To back-stop national activities and training programs by deploying relevant technical staff;
- To widely disseminate visibility materials in order to create awareness about the project among national stakeholders;
- To revise existing national budgets to accommodate disparities in the limitations of resources;
- To timely disburse budget required for implementation of national activities;
- To prepare Partnership Agreements in 2 weeks' time in order to facilitate the opening of bank accounts by MS that opted to get their funds through bank transfers. If opening of bank accounts in these countries takes longer time and the process delays implementation of activities, AU-IBAR to continue disbursing the fund through its accountants.
- MS that opt to receive budget through bank transfers such as Djibouti, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Sudan (to get the necessary documentation from AUIBAR, fast-track opening of bank accounts and communicate to AU-IBAR on the same. Eritrea, Kenya, Somalia, and Uganda to receive funds using the currently practiced modality from AU-IBAR;
- National focal points for STSD to liaise with national focal points for SMP-AH for possible complementarities to fill-in budgetary gaps in STSD activities;
- Where feasible, MSs to allocate matching funds to support STSD activities;
- To start sample collection immediately after the delivery of sample collection materials without waiting for the delivery of diagnostic kits;
- To submit the list of administrative divisions and epidemiological units selected for the cross-sectional surveys of CBPP, FMD, PPR & RVF;
- Uganda to discuss with AU-IBAR on storage challenges and explore possibilities of utilizing the Cross Sectional Survey funds to repair the freezers.
- Need to enhance information sharing on the outputs of related meetings and events of the project among implementing partners of the project both at regional and national levels, especially within MS.
The participants expressed their sincere gratitude to the Government of Kenya for hosting the planning meeting and expressed their gratitude to AU-IBAR for organizing the PM. They thanked IGAD/ICPAD for its contribution to the success of the event and recognized the hospitality accorded to them by the management and staff of Fish Eagle hotel.